Thursday, December 9, 2010


Paul Warren Allen
December 31, 1913 - December 4, 2010

He didn't just make music,
his music was beauty in sound.
Created from feeling, understanding and nuance.

Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal obituaries on December 8, 2010.

I have been uploading songs from the recording that Professor Allen directed at North Central College in the spring of 1968, my freshman year.

Tribute To A Man Who Had Music In His Heart and Soul

It is because of my genuine appreciation of the music that he brought to my life that I post the music I have finished at this time. There will be more to come.

UPDATE ~ newest upload from the North Central College 1968 record as of January 14, 2011


Maestro Paul Warren Allen conducts
the North Central College Choir
An die Musik ~ To Music


I Am the True Vine


The Eyes of All


Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe


Just the one song - It's May


Warum ist das licht gegeben dem mühseligen
(opus 74, 1877)
Johannes Brahms

This history of the napervillechorus
and Paul Warren Allen's contribution.

Here is a portion:

The history of the Naperville Chorus is about music:

Centuries-old choral works of timeless beauty by Bach,

Beethoven, Haydn, Handel, Schubert, Strauss…

Reggae-style Christmas carols

The Requiem, or Mass for the Dead, Mozart left

unfinished at his own death

The Motet composed to honor Naperville

native Commander Daniel Shanower,

killed in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

Modern masterpieces evoking despair and delight

and so much more.

The history of the Chorus is also about people:

In the 1960's Dr. Paul Warren Allen of the

North Central College Music Department melded

the vocal talents of students, college personnel

and community members into a forerunner of

the Naperville Chorus. The NCC-Community

Chorus flourished and performed contemporary

and traditional choral works until 1971, when

financial cutbacks at the college eliminated

the Music Department.

UPDATE December 10, 2010

Obituary & Life Histo

Paul Warren Allen, 96, of Orange City, passed away on December 4, 2010, and joined Eleanor Schuyler Allen, his wife of 67 years, and their only son Richard Ethan Allen, for a glorious reunion on Heaven’s shores. Born in Rochester, NY, on December 21, 1913, he died from complications after surgery. Survivors include daughters Bonnie-Jean Hisgen (Conifer, CO); Gail Townsend (Fern Park, FL); Paula Billingsley (Clearwater, FL); their spouses; 12 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren. Surviving also are myriads of devoted students worldwide, as well as followers of “Prof’s” illustrious musical career. He earned his Bachelor and Master degrees in music at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester (NY), where he was Director of Choral Activities for several years. He moved to the Midwest in 1953 and was on the music faculty of Wheaton College (IL) and then Chairman of the Music Department at North Central College (Naperville, IL). Called “the Robert Shaw of the Christian world”, Allen was well-known in church and school music as an adjudicator and guest conductor at music festivals and contests. Several of his groups toured abroad and always received rave reviews. Always giving the glory to God for his success, Allen has laid down his baton and is with his “Messiah” this Christmas!
A graveside service will take place at the Hollywood Cemetery in Orange City at 4pm on Saturday, December 18. Online condolences may be left at www.allensummerhillfuneralhome.com. Allen-Summerhill Orange City is in charge.

Cemetery Details

Hollywood Cemetery

Orange City, FL,
Get Driving Directions

UPDATE December 16, 2010

Credit to

‘One of those jewels’

Former North Central College professor
Paul Warren Allen died recently at age 96.

Music professor Paul Warren Allen could be moved to tears by the beautiful sounds created by students in his choir at North Central College. “I remember one Christmas, he was conducting the choir singing Handel’s ‘Messiah.’ The truth of the words gripped him and he had ... tears running down his cheeks,” recalls his daughter, Paula Billingsley.

Allen, of Orange City, Fla., died Dec. 4 from complications following surgery. He was 96. He was a direct descendent of American Revolutionary War patriot Ethan Allen, his daughter says.

Allen came to North Central in 1957 after serving on the music faculty at nearby Wheaton College. He assembled a choir that eventually grew to more than 100 students who toured the United States and Canada, performing for as many as 17,000 people a year.

At its peak in the 1960s, North Central’s Concert Choir performed in such prestigious venues as Orchestra Hall, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Allen left a lasting legacy among former students.

“He always kept by his side a notebook of choir concert programs and letters from former students, some decades old,” Billingsley says.

In addition to directing the choir at North Central, in the 1960s Allen was instrumental in establishing the NCC-Community Chorus, also known as the Oratorio Association, a 200-member ensemble that evolved into today’s Naperville Chorus.

“He left a great legacy,” says Jeordano “Pete” Martinez, a North Central music professor and Naperville Chorus director. “Alumni just rave about him. There was a strong kinship among members of the choir from that era.”

Under Allen’s leadership, North Central’s Concert Choir undertook an annual spring tour that took it from coast to coast and included numerous appearances on radio and television. The choir’s repertoire included works of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary periods, as well as Christian hymns and spirituals.

One former student says Allen, known as “Prof” to many, had a profound impact on her life.

“Some people enter our lives, and the effect that they have on us never fades, but becomes more meaningful, more powerful and our gratitude deepens,” says Sandra Hammel, a 1972 graduate of North Central. “I treasure the music that ‘Prof’ Paul Warren Allen — with his understanding and interpretive, expressive movements — lifted out of us.

“He truly had a gift. Those rare ones who elevate our experience contribute to a richness in our lives, especially in the arts. ‘Prof’ Allen was one of those jewels.”

Allen remained at North Central as chair of the music department until 1971, when financial pressures caused the suspension of the college’s music program. He continued working with school and church choirs and as an adjudicator and guest conductor at music festivals and contests.

Today, the restored music program at North Central includes more than 20 instrumental and vocal groups performing in the $30 million Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center, dedicated in 2008. Faculty include acclaimed classical music educators and internationally known jazz performers, and degrees are offered in vocal and instrumental music, jazz studies, and choral and instrumental music education.

The college’s revived Concert Choir once again tours the country and abroad each spring.

“In many ways we are keeping alive the traditions that Paul Warren Allen was instrumental in starting at the college,” Martinez says.

Allen was born in 1913 in Rochester, N.Y., and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at the Eastman School of Music at New York’s University of Rochester in New York, where he was director of choral activities for several years. He moved to the Midwest in 1953.

Allen is survived by Billingsley, of Clearwater, Fla., and two other daughters, Bonnie-Jean Hisgen of Conifer, Colo., Gail Townsend of Fern Park, Fla., and their spouses; 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Eleanor Schuyler Allen, and a son, Richard Ethan Allen.

A graveside service will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hollywood Cemetery in Orange City, Fla.

Online condolences may be left at www.allensummerhillfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Paul-Allen

Other locations of Paul Warren Allen obituary in Chicago area




When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When my way grows drear
Precious Lord linger near
When my life is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I'm tired, I'm weak, I'm lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

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At December 10, 2010 at 1:09:00 PM EST , Anonymous Paula Billingsley said...

Hi! I'm Paula,daughter #3. Thank you for honoring Dad in this way. Unfortunately, the obituary has the graveside service incorrect (not that I expect anyone other thsn family to be there, most likely). But the service is Saturday, December 19, at 4PM instead of as listed in the paper.
Dad died a peaceful death and was ready to be with his Savior, wife and my brother. He had some dementia (age-related, but not Altimers), but he was very aware of my husband's singing and my sister's discussion about Heaven just hours before his homegoing.

At December 10, 2010 at 9:15:00 PM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

Dear Paula,

Thank you so very much for letting me (all of us) that your father passed readily and it was a peaceful passing. I talked with your sister, Gail, last January and knew of his conditions. My dad died May 10, 2007 just as I finished singing The Old Rugged Cross on the phone to him (he, in Indiana and me, in Rhode Island). He was given the diagnosis Alzheimers disease, but it wasn't, it was a form of dementia, just not AD.

I just want to confirm the date and day of the funeral service for those who will want to attend (I would so love to be there, but I live in Rhode Island). Could you confirm that it will be Saturday, December 18, at 4:00 p.m.?

I will pass on this information at Facebook, where some of his students have "gathered" to speak of your father with one another with a video tribute I posted there. I posted the information of your father's passing on my facebook wall and on the North Central College facebook Alumni page. The college has been in contact with me because of my video tributes to him that I have told them about. I left a link to the I Am the True Vine tribute on the NCC facebook alumni page. There have been many people visiting this blog post.

If you would share, I would love to know the song(s) that your husband sang to him on his last day here on earth.

I can only send you my loving thoughts and gentleness of heart. So many of us feel our lives were enriched by being under your father's musical wings. He truly had a gift. And we benefited from his sharing it with us.


At December 14, 2010 at 1:24:00 PM EST , Anonymous Paula Billingsley said...

Yes, the graveside service will be this Sat, Dec. 18th, at 4PM. Dad would have turned 97 on the 21st, but I'm thankful he knew his Savior and is now with Him and my mom and my brother Richard Ethan (who sometimes played his beautiful cello accompanying the NCC choir).
My husband, Ron Billingsley(who sometimes soloed with the NCC choir), sang "It is Well With My Soul" and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" when he visited him just hours before his passing. Ron said that Dad was alert and listening. (I'm in VA and couldn't be there.) Ron will be singing those songs at the service, and the Scripture is John 10, about the Shepherd knowing His sheep.) My sister Gail said that Dad reached up and said "Heaven!" What a comfort!

At December 14, 2010 at 6:44:00 PM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

Dear Paula,

I sincerely thank you for allowing us to know more of your father's time before leaving this earth and what will be included in the service. I love those two hymns. It feels so much better to know and feel a closeness to him, although we are not family, though in a small way, we feel that we are a part of his “larger family”. And to know that he was "alert and listening" is very comforting for me… as I said, I experienced something similar with my father his last few minutes. It is just so "right" that music was a part of his time with those around him those last few hours. And for you ~ to know that it was your husband singing to him is very precious and dear, and will be a comfort to know that your husband gave him the gift of music and was a "companion" in his transition.

When I contacted North Central College about a year and half ago to find how I might write to your dad and tell him what he meant to me, I took a chance and wrote a letter to an address that NCC said could be where he lived, though they really didn't know for sure. So, I was grateful when your sister, Gail, called me last January. I had written in the letter of my first video tribute for your dad and a comment left by Bud Townsend at Youtube said your dad remembered the music by heart.

My mother passes on her thoughts and prayers to you and your family. I so wish I could be there December 18. There are NCC student comments and videos posted at the Allen Summerhill Funeral Home Tribute Wall
including where you can click More. I have posted every bit of information about your dad and his passing at the Facebook North Central College Alumni wall, since I found the news December 8 online.

Ted Slowik, Director of PR and Media Relations, North Central College emailed me. He said that today the NCC tribute to your father would be put together. They asked me to contribute in two or three sentences what your father meant to me. This is what I gave to them:

"In Gratitude to Paul Warren Allen
Some people enter our lives and the effect that they have on us never fades, but becomes more meaningful, more powerful and our gratitude deepens. I treasure the music that Prof Paul Warren Allen with his understanding and interpretive, expressive movements lifted out of us. He truly had a gift. Those rare ones who elevate our experience contribute to a richness in our lives, especially in the arts. Prof Allen was one of those jewels."

Dear Paula, I send a hug. Thank you for sharing ~ “Dad reached up and said ‘Heaven!’ What a comfort!” The students of your dad at North Central College honor him and hope you feel our love and gratitude for him and your family.


At December 15, 2010 at 2:48:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandra, thank you for your kind words and thoughts. I also know that Dad "felt the love" from his students.
I called NCC and gave them more input yesterday, and now I have to return a call to The Chicago Tribune...
If they want to contact you, it's fine with me. I'm giving them your blog info. THX Paula

At December 17, 2010 at 1:54:00 AM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

Paula, Saturday afternoon my thoughts will be in Florida with you and your family.

At December 18, 2010 at 9:36:00 PM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...


I received this message today from a North Central College alumni:

Sandy, the directions to the funeral today were vague so I called the funeral home (Allen-Summerhill). They said, "We don't have a funeral today for Mr. Allen." So, thinking that I called the wrong branch of their two offices, I call the other. And they told me the same thing.

Turns out Prof was buried already and that the info online is incorrect. So I can't possible go today.

...I feel terrible and disappointed that I wasn't able to go...

So sorry not to be able to represent NCC's musicians. I tried.

I just wanted to let you know that one of Prof's students wanted to be there and was willing to take a long drive to come, but as you can see there was some confusion.

Today, at 4:15 p.m. I sat at the piano and sang "It is Well With My Soul" and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" along with the song that I sang to my father on the phone just before he took his final breath, "The Old Rugged Cross". Doing this- this afternoon was my private tribute to your father today.

Holding you in my heart, Sandra


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